Backpackers Central America

Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Placencia, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Montezuma and Manuel Antonio

Summer Program

July 9–August 12, 2018

Description

Dive into an adventure of a lifetime and travel abroad to Costa Rica and Belize this summer. Investigate the spectacular jungles, volcanoes, and diverse coastlines of Central America, while earning high school credits studying Biology and English.

 
35
DAYS 
Two Course Program

Courses Offered

  • Biology
  • English +
  • Studies in Literature
  • Writer’s Craft

Staffing

9:1 Student to Staff Ratio

Availability

OPEN

*Based on air fares, land tariffs and currency exchange rates as of February, 2018. Please note the possibility of increases in airfares and land costs prior to departure. Any increase must be borne by the individual participant.
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My experience with the MEI backpackers trip was nothing but fun. The teachers made the lessons engaging and entertaining. They were constantly applying real life situations that were relevant to what we were learning. When we weren’t studying, we were out doing unique and special activities. Many of the activities that you will do, whether it be going to Mayan ruins, snorkelling, or zip lining, will be long lasting memories that will no doubt be one of the highlights of your trip.

Ben Croyle
Student, Backpackers: Central America 2017

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My experience with the MEI backpackers trip was nothing but fun. The teachers made the lessons engaging and entertaining. They were constantly applying real life situations that were relevant to what we were learning. When we weren’t studying, we were out doing unique and special activities. Many of the activities that you will do, whether it be going to Mayan ruins, snorkelling, or zip lining, will be long lasting memories that will no doubt be one of the highlights of your trip.

Ben Croyle
Student, Backpackers: Central America 2017

Courses Offered

Biology
GRADE CODE
12 SBI4U
This course provides students with the opportunity for in-depth study of the concepts and processes associated with biological systems. Students will study theory and conduct investigations in the areas of biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics, homeostasis, and population dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on achievement of the detailed knowledge and refinement of skills needed for further study in various branches of the life sciences and related fields.

 

English
GRADE CODE
11+12 ENG3U + ENG4U

The core English course focuses on the refinement of literacy, communication and analytical skills. Students build on their understanding of academic language and practice using it confidently in discussion and argumentation both in oral and written forms.

 

Studies in Literature
GRADE CODE
12 ETS4U

This course is intended for students who are passionate about literature. Students analyze a range of literary forms including drama, the novel, and poetry, responding personally, critically, and creatively to each.

 

Writer's Craft
GRADE CODE
12 EWC4U

This course is designed for students who have attained a high level of proficiency in their writing skills and wish to focus on cultivating their creative writing talents by participating in prose, poetry, and drama-writing master classes.

 

Program Itinerary

July 9–August 12, 2018

Pre-departure Meeting: Mid-June

Day 1–2 Toronto—Departure
Day 2–6 Caye Caulker, Belize
Day 6–11 San Ignacio, Belize
Day 11–16 Placenia, Belize
Day 16–22 La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Day 22–27 Monteverde, Costa Rica
Day 27–35 Manuel Anotnio, Costa Rica

Flight and hotel details are available on individual program sites, available to registered students and their parents.

Preparation and Coursework

Preparation and Coursework

In order to ease into the program, students have access to the course website where reading lists are posted. Course preparation is completed over four weeks. The first two-week session begins in early May, and focuses on novel studies. The second session begins in late June, and focuses on small assignments. These online sessions are designed to connect students with their teachers and classmates, and to help lessen the workload during the summer. Students are required to complete all prep work prior to departure to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running overseas.
 Toronto

Toronto

Day 1–2

Before they travel abroad, students commence their high school credit coursework with teachers and classmates in Toronto. There, we conduct our first biology lab and review foundational course material before setting off for Belize. This preparation allows us to dive straight into the adventure that awaits us.
Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker, Belize

Days 2–6

From Toronto, students travel south to Caye Caulker in beautiful Belize. A sandy pathway through the center of town leads students to a harbor flanked with boats, waiting to take them out to one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Caye Caulker offers students the chance to study unmatched aquatic habitats, including a vast range of tropical fish, stingrays and sea turtles. It is an ideal location for the class to explore theories on evolution and biochemical adaptations. Additionally, our morning workouts introduce students to the benefits of physical activities such as yoga, martial arts, and frisbee.

San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio, Belize

Days 6–11

From the town of San Ignacio, options abound for exploring Belize’s scenic inland wonders, from the  Mayan ruins to the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves. Students engage with archeologists as they discuss the cultural importance the caves hold for locals, past and present. This tranquil setting affords time to reflect on ancient Mayan texts and contemporary Latin American literature, as well as debate complex topics such as human genetics.
Placenia, Belize

Placenia, Belize

Days 11–16

Next, students travel the coastline to Placencia, where they reside along a dazzling stretch of white beach. There, research topics include one of Belize’s largest conservation areas—Cockscomb Jaguar Sanctuary. After enjoying refreshing swims and waterfall baths, students use the environment as a wellspring for creative writing. During dinners, students engage in book chats and storytelling lessons, and also participate in biology related debate topics.
La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Days 16–22

From Belize, students travel to La Fortuna in Costa Rica. Located at the base of the Arenal volcano, students enjoy daily adventures such as zip-lining through tree canopies, hiking the mist forest, and testing out the natural hot springs. These activities are balanced with studies that focus on the nature of the human body, and the reproductive process. In the English course, students refine their writing skills in master classes during in the cool evenings, which are often enhanced by tropical storms and impressive lightning shows.

 

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Days 22–27

In Monteverde, which means “green mountain”, students reside in an ecolodge built in a cloud forest. There, they have access to a state of the art on-site lab to test samples collected from the surrounding environment. In this remote location students connect with the local ecology, and participate in research, service work and night hikes. These activities are integrated into the coursework so that students can find a balance while completing their research based assignments.

 

Manuel Anotnio, Costa Rica

Manuel Anotnio, Costa Rica

Days 27–35

The final stop on our journey abroad is Manuel Antonio’s spectacular National Park. Using this tranquil locale as a backdrop, students decompress and reflect on their adventure, while preparing for their Independent Study Units and exams. Their last day is spent beachside, before celebrating together over a final banquet dinner.

Departure from San Jose (Day 35)

What’s Included?

 

Program Fee Includes Program Fee Does Not Include
Program Costs

  • Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
  • $95 Registration Fee
  • Custom course pack
  • Student Login
  • MEI journal
  • Digital yearbook
Travel Costs

  • Hotels and accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner daily
  • Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
  • Return airfare from Toronto’s
  • Pearson International Airport
  • Flight from Belize to Costa Rica
  • Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
  • Transportation between hotel locations via private coach
  • Transportation for all listed program excursions
Extra Costs

  • Lunches
  • Insurances
  • Gratuities
  • Course texts
  • Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection*

*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.

What’s Included?

 

 

Program Fee Includes
Program Costs

  • Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
  • $95 Registration Fee
  • Custom course pack
  • Student Login
  • MEI journal
  • Digital yearbook
Travel Costs

  • Hotels and accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner daily
  • Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
  • Return airfare from Toronto’s
  • Pearson International Airport
  • Flight from Belize to Costa Rica
  • Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
  • Transportation between hotel locations via private coach`
  • Transportation for all listed program excursions
Program Fee Does Not Include
Extra Costs

  • Lunches
  • Insurances
  • Gratuities
  • Course texts
  • Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection*

*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.

Caye Caulker

Days 2–6

San Ignacio

Days 6–11

Placencia

Days 11–16

Monteverde

Days 22–27

Montezuma

Manuel Antonio

Days 27–35

La Fortuna

Days 16–22

Ready to take the next step?

Want to Find Out More?